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A valuable soft skill, empathy is the ability to recognize the way a co-worker is feeling and understand what they are going through. This skill allows your employees to work well together through respect for each other’s work methods.

Why is this important?

Everyone is a little different in the way they approach assignments, problem solve and get things done. And empathy is what helps your co-workers appreciate the differences of others, for a harmonious workplace. Plus, when an employee can think from the perspective of another team member, it helps improve communication. So when interviewing new hires, you can help ensure teamwork and collaboration when you hire candidates who display signs of empathy.

What to look for – interview questions to ask

The key in interviewing for empathy is you’re looking for responses that show a candidate can work and identify with others. Ask the following:

Describe a conflict you had at work. How did you handle it?

This question shows how a candidate can problem solve and communicate. But look for signs they tried to understand the situation from the other person’s point of view—helping to strengthen the ultimate outcome.

What’s the biggest challenge you see for yourself and your co-workers in the upcoming year?

True, the candidate might be confused by a futuristic question about their current job, since they’re interviewing to leave it. But they’ve undoubtedly thought about this since they don’t see a future with their current company. With the answer to this question, look for signs they anticipate difficulties on their behalf, but also others on their team.

You receive a complaint from an unhappy client… [fill in details of the complaint]. What do you do, and how do you handle the situation?

To properly resolve an issue requires the candidate to put themselves in the shoes of the concerned party and determine a solution. This question both forces the candidate to think on their feet and show signs of empathy.

Find empathetic employees

If none of the above resonate with you, a simple Google search will yield additional interview questions you can ask to help uncover empathy. Plus, you can work with your recruiter to locate candidates who display this valuable soft skill, making it that much easier to round out your workforce with empathetic employees.

Need a staffing partner?

Check out McGrath Systems. We’ll work with you to understand your staffing needs and find employees who fit. To learn more, contact us today!

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